When Work History is Holding You Back
Posted by Anni M.
When I was young, I didn’t appreciate the gravity of reputation. I was naïve and I was used to getting second chances. Being young is nice that way. You’re not expected to have a mastery over your behavior, your work ethic, or your industry. It’s a great place to live—never feeling accountable for your actions or your mistakes. My first real office job was with a marketing company. I was on the lowest rung of the totem pole, relegated to the center of the cubicle sea, stuck between two debt collectors who spent all day arguing into their telephones at full volume. I didn’t have a window or an expanse of desk on which to pile my stacks of tedious paperwork. But that was all okay. I knew someday I’d be in a better position and I didn’t much care about my current one. I spent a lot of time playing around on the computer—playing solitaire and Tetris, posting on forums and surfing for new shoes. Little did I know, my boss was monitoring my activities. I didn’t even get a warning, just the clichéd pink slip draped lovingly over my keyboard at 8AM. It was a real wake up call.
I wasn’t thinking about my future. I didn’t consider how getting fired would look on my resume or how tough it would be go get another job without a good recommendation. I learned the hard way. If you want to move up in a company, you have to prove yourself. I guess this is an obvious lesson but there seem to be an awful lot of people in the workforce who haven’t fully learned it. What we do has consequences and in this world of electronic records, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, those consequences are far reaching and, in many cases, permanent.
That job followed me around for a long time. When I did finally get rehired answering phones at a legal office, I had an even smaller desk in an even dingier fluorescently lit room. I had moved backwards. If only I’d thought about my future at the first job! The point I’m trying to make here is that every day counts. We’re all human and sometimes it’s difficult to focus, but in many ways your reputation is all you have. If you impress the people around you, every day, you will see the rewards: online, in the office, and in your letters of recommendation. If you don’t, you will move backwards. It’s as simple as that.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..